Sunday, September 22, 2013

September: The start of year 2 in Seattle

Dear readers - a whole year has gone by in Seattle - while we still "feel new", it also feels like ages since we left Tennessee.
here is how September been 

A Developing R

Making Songs

You all know how much music has been a part of our lives in raising R –it continues to be  a short cut to him.

R has been making all these Old Mc Donald songs about everything

Like “Old Mac Donald had an Idylwood park” (which he has clearly thought about before as in fact this park has many ducks )


When it came to Old Mac Donald had a Cascades view park – he had to say “And in that park he had some ….. Kids” (as there are no animals there )

I was waiting to say what he would use for the sound that kids make – but he made me laugh 
when he said “With a say-say here and a say-say there “ ( implying that the kids were saying things !!

Remembering old friends

 I love that while he has made so many new friends he has not forgotten his old ones . Any time we play with some toy that he played with his beloved Miss Gypsi or Miss Sadie or Miss Kristen he will quickly tell me 

“miss gypsi play with me and  baby Beethoven”

God

While R and I say a simple prayer of gratitude at bedtime – we have no idea that he gets the concept of god

Recently, we all went to the Ganesh temple  to celebrate Lord Ganesh’s birthday and when I asked him what he was planning to pray for,  he said unexpectedly “I want to pray for a trumpet

Then he told me that “first we go to temple ,, then we pray for trumpet .. then we go buy trumpet”

We had to break it to him that prayers do not work like that J but it made us smile when he said later  that he would like to pray for money. 

I think god appreciates the honesty of these simple thoughts

Other kids

One thing where R does not seem to be really transferring skills- is in the social area. While he has certainly beein going to social skills classes and apparently doing quite well too – he still mostly avoids other kids. 

In Portland we met some of DH’s friends whose kids had a Wii.

The girls were so sweet in letting him play with their Wii and not even asking to play with him. But let alone appreciating the favor that these kiddos were doing for him, he was going into the settings of their video games and changing them.

Its always hard to take R anywhere as he immediately starts to whine but we are telling him that its really important to do some things that he does not exactly want to do  - because everyone’s interests must be taken into account.

This is a tough lesson for him to grock.

He does so many funny things to make us laugh

The other day, he handed me a large lump from his nose and told me to please put it in the trash

Homeschooling

Is really going well.

R loves it so much more than regular school. 

The other day R and I were playing the alphabet game at the park – where I pick a letter and tell him to name something with it

I picked A and asked him to name a teacher with A. 

When he was quiet – I answered for him “Miss Alyssa” from his regular school – he quickly changed my answer to “Miss Angie” who is a teacher at his new home-school.

The therapist who runs the program says that all the therapists want to work with him because he is “so interesting”

When I told my MIL this over the phone, she said that it was because he was one of the “hopeful cases” (kid that makes progress)

I don’t agree though. In TN, most of the kids that had an Autism diagnosis were quite obviously autistic.

Here in WA, I feel that R is one of the more classically autistic child. Most kids that I have met here with an autism diagnosis –seem to be more mildly affected (good eye contact, playing with other kids etc. ) while R is more obviously  on the A team.

I think it’s simply that he is a very interesting and endearing child- with or without autism

 Or maybe I think that because I am his mother.

Crohn’s

We came to the hospital today to prepone his Remicade infusion – he has  started having symptoms once again and the doc is  thinking that maybe the Remicade doses are too far apart ( 8 weeks)

We have tried a lot of natural methods as well – adding a lot of greens like Kale and Spinach that are helpful in reducing inflammation. We are also giving him extra turmeric (which is magic for inflammation )

Its quite easy to fix the dose so we are not worried ( or at least trying not to)

Vacation 

The trick to being happy with change is to focus on the good thing that change brings instead of the focusing on the things you miss about the old ways.

And there is plenty to enjoy. First, our beautiful house (which we love a lot more than our rambling old house that we lived in Knoxville - I used to tell DH that I wanted to live in a fat house and now we do). Second, being in  a part of the country that  we have never seen before  and finally, of course all the autism services here.

But one thing we really miss about our TN life - is how much we used to vacation. Just having the cabin means that we used to have a little holiday every weekend.

We  realize that on Sep 1 we completed an entire year in Seattle -And in all that time we have not taken a single trip outside WA !!!

We decided to rectify this immediately on the last day of the first year (so we would never have to say that there was a year when we did not vacation at all) 

Vacation in Portland

We go to Portland and visit the Rose Garden. 


We are in a residence inn hotel and its very good – we have our traditions for these hotels – eating the buffet breakfast.

We meet friends - we also meet boat people - a couple who have decided to say that they would like to eschew regular life and just live on a boat.

I chat with the lady and she tells me that I must try it. This below is her.


Canada 

We also decide to go to Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

As per usual, I want to fly and DH wants to drive.  

DH does not like public transport as he feels he is “at the mercy” of another driver

I, on the other hand , think of finding clean restrooms, the long hours in the car.

Still I agree to his plan- mostly as I tell him for the great pleasure of telling him” I told you so”

But guys – the 1600 miles is breathtaking. 

DH and I get loads of time to talk and talk in the car- which we do.

And what we see outside is spectacular 



We go to Banff National park and its paradise. I have told DH that he must scatter my ashes here. 
Somewhere where a mountain( not a hill ) meets a lake. 


We picnic in paradise 


We stay in the house of one of DH’s Engineering College roommates.

They are just so wonderful and know just how to treat R. (Ignore him mostly – let him wander around and let him play with their  Wii)  

Sandra makes me tear up one day when I am trying to pile up all the discs in their boxes neatly. 

Let it be.. He likes to spread it all around.. so he can see it all in one glance”

Such insight!!

She reminds me so much of my sister.

Their daughter (4) is amazing as is Ivor and we are so much at home in their place that its very hard to leave once the weekend is over


We are definitely coming back - look what we missed in this trip- pics by Ivor who is an artist ( engineer by profession) but in regular life an amazing cook and photographer

Here is Lake Louise 

Here is a view of the Canadian Rockies


Here is Lake Maligne


I am in love with Canada.

Physical health and Wellness 

I turned 39 this week. 

I have had the most amazing birthday thanks to DH, my family and of course R who is mad for birthdays like he is mad for Christmas ( which you know is saying something) 

This year I have gained 15-20 pounds( that too without enjoying it) 

I am quite worried about the weight gain.

One very interesting thing that a dietician said to my friend was “you have to eat like a thin person  ... not like a fat person who is on a diet all the time”

This is what I have seen about all the naturally thin people – is that they really don’t care about food. 

They naturally eat less and don’t have automatic association with food as celebration or comfort as plump people do.

I have also wondered if I am eating too much unconsciously

But after writing a food diary many days as to what I am eating and how much – I am convinced it’s not just the attitude about food or the calories. It’s something else

I go and meet a wellness coach, who asks me to describe my life.

She tells me about the important relationship between stress,  lack of sleep, Vitamin D, cortisol (stress hormone) and weight gain and that to lose weight I need to lose the stress.

DH and I are on a diet but I think rather than think about just the calories we put in our mouth, and the minutes I spend on the treadmill (though those are essential).

I think it’s about the amount of stress I am letting inside my life.

More on this experiment later.

How do you cope with stress?



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Looking ahead

When difficult things happen to us we can obsess over why this happened. But the question to as is not "why" but "what now"
I write about this on Hopeful Parents today
For readers who don't like to click on links .. full post below

Looking Ahead

DH and I are driving back from a naturopath whom we have visited for Crohn’s disease

He tries to explain what may  have caused Crohn’s. He tells us that maybe it’s the lack of sun in the Temperate zone that a hurts a child of Asian origin.

Then he adds that another cause could be unusual bacteria in the tropical zones (since we visit India every couple of years) that is may have caused Crohn’s.

We are shaking our heads about it in the car.

Which is it? 

Should we have not moved to a temperate zone? 

Or should we have stayed in the temperate zone and never visited the tropical zone?

As it turns out that – that just like Autism, for Crohns too – no one knows anything definitively.

There are many plausible and contradictory theories and there is plenty of fodder for parents to torture themselves over what they could have done to prevent it.

If it were not for my years of Autism parenting, this conversation would have set me on a tail spin of guilt.

But, Autism has taught me that obsessing about causes and your role in those causes is toxic.

Much better to spend your energy thinking about what helps and what heals.

It’s no that different than when other   bad things that happen to us

We always ask “why me”, we obsess on reconstructing that event in a way that could have prevented it.

People who have been in car accidents seem to go over and over again all the ways in which they could have been prevented – if they had just left the house a little later, decided not to go to that grocery store that day, lingered a little longer or little lesser over coffee that morning.

An aunt with the hip fracture obsesses, if she had only seen the slick of water, bought those non-slip slippers, eaten that calcium etc.

But there are no do-overs in life.

Bad things happen and they can happen any time.

We can eat the calcium, the purified omega 3’s, the folic acids and the organic food, look both sides of the road while crossing and get all our annual  checkups and it is very  good for us but its never enough.
Accepting this fact is very freeing
Don’t look back. 

Don't ask why me

Don't even ask why 

Ask only what now 
And look ahead for this life is no dress rehearsal

 

Floortime Lite Mama

On my life as the mother of an adorable 5 year old with Autism and Apraxia